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The Egypt In My Looking Glass: New Novella by Yuri Kruman Puts an Unflinching Mirror to the Russian-Jewish Immigrant Experience in America

NEW YORK, Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- While a burgeoning group of 'Gen X' Russian-Jewish writers in English has taken on the subject of Russian Jewish identity in recent years, including Gary Shteyngart, David Bezmozgis and Lara Vapnyar, a new novella by Yuri Kruman offers up a fresh, outsider voice to the genre.


Blending the cultural richness and humor of the Russian immigrant experience with a distinctly Jewish outlook, the book distills the essence of post-Soviet evolution from a scrappy bad stereotype to proper, full-fledged citizens. Following on the heels of his debut novel, "Returns and Exchanges," "The Egypt In My Looking Glass" brings the same blistering voice and cinematic pace to the lives of Russian Jews in upper-middle-class New York and also Brighton Beach – The Boulevard of Broken Dreams - with all the mutual resentments on display.

That's what makes the book so unique. Free-wheeling and frank, unsparing in style yet told with surprising humanity, "The Egypt In My Looking Glass" traces the story of a family in crisis. No longer boot-strapped, scrambling refugees – now, brilliant and proud lawyers, authors, financiers – America's elite – the siblings bristle at the notion of their cousin's shady - "Russian" - ways. Yet when their long-lost, deadbeat father surfaces from Moscow, they are forced to grapple with their past and selves. "The Egypt In My Looking Glass" is thrilling in its exploration of success and failure, family and self.


Twenty-five years after their hellish emigration - thirty from their famous father's exodus – a sister and her brothers hear his voice again. All three have long since "made it" in the States, despite – maybe, because of – his abandonment.

Forced by his own divorce to question everything, Vlad reels and frolics to forget himself - and learn to live again. Skirt-chasing author Mark, seething with writer's block, commits himself to marry by a verbal slip. Alla's precocious children prod her to examine who she is and why.

A sleazy cousin – Tolik, hopeless Brighton product - is about to score his one big hit, again. His brother, Boris, now religious, struggles to transcend his past. A family get-together threatens to ignite their old resentments.

Edouard Yablonskiy, freshly minted dissident, has one last chance to make amends. His three grown children now must choose – to exit their own Egypt and forgive or let the past demand their satisfaction.

The author explains why the subject of Russian-Jewish identity is so fascinating.

"We were always tagged as Jews in Russia, and as Russians in America. Many of us have become quintessential Americans in a short 20 years, highly educated and living the American dream. Our connection to Judaism is much more often cultural - not as much religious - yet we have a strong identification with Israel and other Jews. Now that those of us who came as children are grown up and having our own kids, we are starting to look in the mirror and make sense of who we are and in what order and proportion – Jews, Russians, Americans, immigrants and natives, secular and observant, nostalgic and forward-looking, cynical or optimistic, observers of politics or its participants," says Kruman.

Continuing, "We all carry the turtle shell of our immigrant experience, whether we like it or not. This book takes on the legacy of trauma of divorce and being refused, the thankless toil of New York hustle, "effortless" success, as well as the fundamental yearning to leave one's own Egypt." 

The book is Yuri Kruman's project for the 2012-13 COJECO Blueprint Fellowship, which is a highly selective year-long program for Russian-speaking Jewish adults ages 25-40 to explore personal and collective identity through the creation of community projects. Written just past the 25th anniversary of the famous March for Soviet Jewry, the book could not be more timely. With 200,000+ Russian-speaking Jews in New York alone, Kruman is confident his book has a far-reaching audience among natives and aficionados, alike. "This is a book alive with humor and intrigue throughout to keep the reader gripped to every page," he adds.

"The Egypt In My Looking Glass" will be available from December 18th 2013 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AuthorHouse in soft-cover format.

The book launch party for "The Egypt In My Looking Glass" is on December 14th at 7 PM at Roger Smith Hotel, 501 Lexington Ave, New York, NY. Tickets may be purchased here:

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About the Author:
Born in Moscow and raised in Kentucky, Yuri Kruman graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a JD from Cardozo School of Law. Yuri moved to New York in 2004 and currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter. He is the author of "Returns and Exchanges," a novel published by Author House in 2013.

Media Contact: Yuri Kruman,, 3474150265,

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